Urine Samples In Pregnancy: Is Peeing In A Cup So Often Really Necessary?

Health & Medical Blog

One of the many tests that you regularly are asked to do throughout your pregnancy -- sometimes as frequently as every visit -- is to provide urine samples. While it can be inconvenient and possibly a bit challenging as you get larger, it's important for your medical practitioner, such as at All Women's Healthcare, to have a urinalysis at a few key points in your pregnancy. Here's why:

1. Testing for glucose.

Excess sugar in your urine is a major indicator of diabetes. And gestational diabetes, a temporary form of diabetes that can occur in late pregnancy, is one complication that can affect as many as 9.2 percent of all pregnant women.

If you have gestational diabetes, your body can't make enough insulin during pregnancy. This may be caused by the way that the placenta forms and the types of hormonal influence it has on your body, but there's no definitive understanding of why it happens in some women and not in others. Gestational diabetes can make your blood sugar levels too high, putting even more stress on your internal organs. Plus, it can lead to high blood sugar levels in your baby, making him or her larger than normal and possibly leading to complications with weight gain later in life.

While your doctor will probably have you complete fasting blood tests if you are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, the urinalysis can show the first signs of a problem.

2. Checking for high protein levels.

The initial protein levels in your urine can be measured and used as a baseline to compare to later in pregnancy. Elevated protein levels in urine during the later months of your pregnancy can indicate complications like preeclampsia, a serious illness that can lead to serious illness in both mother and baby. 

If you are particularly at risk of preeclampsia -- like if you had signs of it in a previous pregnancy -- your doctor may even have you check your own urine at home. You can purchase testing strips that are dipped into urine that then indicate the amount of protein present. Your doctor will let you know what level to watch for and when you should call or come in.

3. Looking for High White Blood Cell Counts

Your urine is likely to have excess white blood cells if you are battling an infection. Sometimes, infections in the bladder or even in the uterus will not show significant symptoms before the excess white blood cells can be detected during a urinalysis. If your doctor suspects you have an infection, you may be given antibiotics or monitored closely for complications. 

While the challenge of urinating cleanly into a specimen cup can be tedious, regular urinalysis during pregnancy can indicate the first signs of a problem that must be monitored or treated before delivery. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the frequency and necessity of urinalysis during your pregnancy.


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